I walked over six miles today. For some that would be insignificant, but for me that is a monumental achievement. Just three weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that I could make it around the park, the fairgrounds and back to my house, and that is less than two miles.
Every morning I watch, my neighbor, Shirley walk her dogs. I have been told that she walks around the block. It really doesn’t matter how far she walks. The important thing is that I know she does it consistently. And since I retired, I have sat in my chair most mornings and watched her walk. Of course I have thought, I should be out there doing that. But for a long time I just stayed put and read my paper.
I also have a friend named Barbara. I know that she walks nearly everyday. And every time I listened as she mentioned something, or some one from one of her walks, I have thought, I really should do that. But, for a long time, I failed to follow through.
Then there is my daughter, now over 40, she doesn’t just walk, she runs, she rides bikes, she teaches yoga and spinning and Tao Kwon Do and every time I see her, I think, I really need to be more active. But for years I have ignored her gentle prodding and continued to be my lethargic self.
In July, I stumbled across a website called Gullible’s Travels. Now Gully, as she is known by the followers of her blog, is a widow, over sixty and lives in Muskeg Manor, Alaska. In July, I started reading her blog about a back packing trip she took, alone, across Resurrection Pass. She hiked 26 miles in four days.
Something clicked. All of these women except for my daughter are over sixty. All of these women are what I consider classy, sassy, woman. Suddenly I wanted to be more like them. I decided my first step would be to take a step and then another and then another and see what happened. So I started out just putting one foot in front of the other.
The first day I walked around the park and fairgrounds and made it home again. Well, I thought, that wasn’t so bad. So the next day I did it again. This time I was delighted by a little girl wearing a dress so long that I expected it to get tangled in her bicycle wheels. She was excited and called out, “I used to fall off, but now I can go really fast.” And I thought, gee, we are both gaining confidence, I used to sit in a chair and watch other people walk. Now I can walk almost two miles.
From there my world has expanded exponentially.
On the Olympic Peninsula we have a wonderful trail system, designed for walkers, bicyclers, and some places it is even appropriate for horses. I have come to love these trails. Over the years I have often walked the section in downtown Port Angeles. But lately I have expanded my horizons and I have been walking different sections.
Recently my husband and I walked the trail from Elwha River Road to the Elwha River Bridge. Round trip this is about four miles, nearly all paved and a great place to walk when it is warm because it is shaded by the trees. The bridge used to be a one-way bridge across the Elwha River, now it is two-lane road with a suspended walking/hiking/biking deck below. From the deck the views up and down the river are fantastic.
Today I started the trail at Ennis Creek in Port Angeles and walked east. This section of the trail meanders along the water for quite a distance in shade created by trees along the bank. When I started the fog was off shore and the sun was warm. I love the sound of the tide in this area. If you are quiet you can hear the water suck through the rocks as the tide recedes and then watch it pull itself up and over as it tumbles back onto the rocks. As I walked I lost all sense of time and did not realize how far I had walked. I was one with nature.
Almost every day now I am finding there is wonder in a walk. I walk with my camera, my dorky hat upon my head and a refillable water bottle slinging from my fanny pack. Did I tell you, today I made it over six miles?
I owe it all to Shirley, Barbara, Judy and Gully. Way to go gals. You inspire me.